I’m slowly learning you shouldn’t criticize yourself every time you take a step back. Falling into old patterns doesn’t mean you’re weak. It doesn’t mean you’re never going to break your bad habit. It simply means you need to take a second, take a breath, and take another shot.
You might not break your bad habit during your first attempt. You might not break it on your second or third or tenth attempt either. But you can’t let your setbacks bring you down. You can’t give up on yourself.
You have to make sure you stay motivated to better yourself — because as soon as you lose your motivation, you’re going to return to your worst habits. You’re going to throw up your hands and ask what’s even the point in trying? And that is the last thing you want. That type of thinking isn’t going to get you anywhere good. It’s only going to put you in a self-destructive cycle.
When you’re struggling to break a bad habit, you have to speak kindly to yourself. You have to be understanding and accepting of yourself whenever you accidentally take a step back. You can’t call yourself a loser, a failure, a crazy person just because you screwed up. You can’t treat yourself like a punching bag. You’re bound to make mistakes, but you don’t have to dwell on them. You don’t have to hate yourself because of them.
Of course, at the same time, when you’re trying to break a bad habit, you have to be strict with yourself. You can’t let yourself indulge in a cigarette or fast food or alcohol when you’re trying to wean yourself off of the stuck, just because you’re in a bad mood and want something to relax you. You have to try your hardest to remain on track. You can’t give up after one rough day. You can’t let your bad mood convince you to stop caring.
I’m slowly learning, when you’re trying to break a bad habit, there are going to be moments when you’re more confident than others. There are going to be moments when you feel like you’ve got this and other moments when you feel like it’s only a matter of time until everything falls apart.
When you’re having doubts about whether or not you’re going to keep your productive streak going, remind yourself to take it one day at a time, even one minute at a time. Don’t think about how hard it will be to never ever indulge in your bad habit again. Stop looking at the big picture and only focus on right now. You can worry about tomorrow later.
I’m slowly learning breaking a bad habit is never easy. You’re probably not going to succeed the first time around. It could take you years and buckets of tears before you reach your destination, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. You have to keep striving to succeed. You have to keep striving to better yourself.